Electoral College 101: How does it work? Video https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/10 0000001821730/electoral-college101.html?smid=pl-share Why Did the Founders Create the Electoral College? ⦿ The term “Electoral College” is not used in the Constitution. The term developed over time and came into use in the early 1800s. ⦿ Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution refers to “electors”, describes their role, and the process by which they vote and the votes are counted. ⦿ The Founding Fathers lacked confidence in the voters. They did not think voters (even though the country was much smaller at the time) would have enough information to vote intelligently for such an important office. ⦿ Framers also believed the system reflected the system of federalism by giving an important role to the states. ⦿ Provided for the indirect election of the president. 12th Amendment ⦿ Ratified on June 15, 1804 after the Election of 1800. It made changes to the Constitution’s original provisions regarding electors. ⦿ Prior to this amendment, each elector had two votes, thus encouraging parties to run two candidates for president, with the intent that these candidates would finish first (becoming president) and second (becoming vice-president) in the election. ⦿ The 12th Amendment separated the elections for President and Vice-President, but the fact that the same electors vote for both continues to preserve the running mate system. How many Electoral Votes do states have? ⦿ The number of electoral votes a state has is determined by the following “equation”: # of Senators + # of Representatives = # of Electoral Votes -- States with the largest populations have most electoral votes. -- The number of electoral votes changes every ten years as the number of Representatives changes (based on the census). -- Currently a total of 538 electoral votes. Even the District of Columbia gets 3 electoral votes. 270 are needed to win! -- 48 states have a winner-takes-all system for the electoral votes. If the candidate gets the most votes, they get all the electoral votes. -- Maine and Nebraska award their votes proportionately by House district. In practice, the electoral votes of these states have not been split -- the candidate who won the state won in every district. Electoral College Map -- 2016 Who are the Electors? Who picks them? ⦿ Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution says that U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, or any “person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States.” CANNOT be electors. ⦿ The Fourteenth Amendment says that those who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid and comfort to its enemies CANNOT serve as electors. ⦿ State legislatures decide how electors will be chosen. The process varies from state to state. ⦿ Political parties usually pick electors. They may be selected at a state convention too. Being picked as an elector is often a “thank you” for working hard for the party. Third-party or independent candidates usually select their electors themselves. Do Electors have to vote for the candidate who won the state’s popular vote? ⦿ The Constitution does not say electors must vote according to results of the popular vote. ⦿ 26 states and D.C. have laws “binding” electors to vote for the candidate who won the state’s popular vote. State political parties also have rules requiring electors to pledge to support the party’s nominee. The Supreme Court has held that a party can require such a pledge. ⦿ Most electors vote for their state’s winner—more than 99% over the course of U.S. history. However, socalled “faithless” electors do pop up from time to time (those who do not vote with the winner of popular vote). What happens after Election Day? 1) When a voter casts a ballot on Election Day, they are choosing electors to vote on their behalf. When the polls close, local officials gather election results and send them to the state capital. 1) On the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, electors meet in their state capitals and cast their ballot for president. 1) Then, electors complete the “certificate of vote” and a copy is sent to the President of the Senate (the sitting Vice President) by certified mail. What happens after Election Day? 4) Staff members of the Vice President collect the Certificates of Vote from the states and prepare them for the joint session of the Congress- mandated by the 12th amendment. 5) Congress assembles in joint session to count the electoral votes and declare the winners of the election. The session is ordinarily required to take place on January 6 in the calendar year immediately following the meetings of the presidential electors. 6) The winner is declared…who takes the oath of office on January 20 at noon. ⦿ ⦿ Bush vs Gore Election Popular Vote:The popular vote was won by Gore-Lieberman by 543,816 votes. ● ● ● ● ● Bush-Cheney - 50,460,110 Gore-Lieberman - 51,003,926 Nader-LaDuke - 2,883,105 Buchanan-Foster - 449,225 Browne-Olivier - 384,516 Electoral Vote: The electoral vote was won by Bush-Cheney by 5 votes. ● ● ● ● ● Bush-Cheney – 271 Gore-Lieberman - 266 Nader-LaDuke - 0 Buchanan-Foster - 0 Browne-Olivier – 0 ● The last time the president won the electoral vote without winning the popular vote was in 1888.